Sr. Patricia Schap
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,” John 1:1
This Scripture verse from John is a favorite of Sister Patricia Schap. Her life has been full of new beginnings as she followed Jesus to her calling.
Sister Patricia was born in Valley City, N.D. She has two siblings. Her father’s government job with the Department of Agriculture required the family to move frequently throughout North Dakota. Sister Patricia learned early to be open to new beginnings and marvels that she attended four different high schools.
With a degree in education from Presentation College in Aberdeen, S.D., Sister Patricia’s first teaching job was at Cathedral school in Bismarck, N.D. It was here that she met the Benedictine sisters. Most notably, she found a mentor in the teacher across the hall, Sister Michael Kaliher, a member of Annunciation Monastery. “She taught me a lot and we had so much fun together,” she recalls.
Sister Patricia always thought she’d marry and have children. She had been in a serious relationship with a young man but often wondered if God was calling her to a different vocation than marriage. One day Sister Patricia came across the diocesan paper, “The Dakota Catholic Action.” It was an issue devoted to vocations. One story inspired her to keep reading it over and over. “It was about a woman who was searching for her place in life. It resonated with me so I asked Sister Michael what I should do next,” says Sister Patricia. She inquired at Annunciation Monastery and was soon on her way to become a sister.
God and teaching are the great loves of Sister Patricia’s life. She taught at St. Mary’s grade school, Bismarck, Christ the King school, Mandan, for 12 years, and again at St. Mary’s as director of religious education for 23 years. Sister Patricia feels children bring a wonderful dimension to her life. “I just love little kids; they are visionary, creative and eager to learn. I learn a lot from them.”
Sister Patricia also served as subprioress of Annunciation Monastery for eight years. She directed the monastery’s oblate program for many years and served on the University of Mary Board of Trustees. She is a certified spiritual director. She was a volunteer at St. Mary’s Grade School for years, helping children with their reading. She says, “After I spend time with them, I have a whole different feeling inside. They fill me with joy.”
Sister Patricia encounters God through the richness of communal and personal prayer. As she reflects on the past, she explains, “To live with others who seek God and support one another on the journey to God, is a blessing. We love one another, we have fun, and we live the Gospel values. Each day is a new beginning to grow in God’s love.”